Intelsat Launches Solar-Powered 2G Service for Africa

Intelsat Launches Solar-Powered 2G Service for Africa

U.S.-based satellite services provider Intelsat announced a managed service to provide 2G connectivity in remote locations. Offered in cooperation with two other technology companies, BCom and Newtec, IntelsatOne Mobile Reach Solar 2G is a turnkey package designed for mobile network operators that wish to expand their voice services to remote populations throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

The offering includes all satellite, cellular and power components and integrates satellite services from Intelsat’s global network with Newtec’s Dialog multiservice platform and BCom’s backhaul terminal and network deployment expertise. Through this partnership, IntelsatOne Mobile Reach Solar 2G delivers a product that can be rapidly deployed and is easily scalable to serve regions and populations of all sizes, according to the company.

IntelsatOne Mobile Reach Solar 2G was developed specifically to enable MNOs to extend their coverage with a cost-effective, easily deployable and efficient solar-powered cellular site.

Tarifica’s Take

Sub-Saharan Africa is the fastest-growing region in the world in terms of mobile telecom services. A report just released by GSMA predicts that by 2020, around 530 million people—or 50 percent of the region’s population—will be mobile subscribers, up from 420 million, or 43 percent, in 2016.

This region is not only the most untapped, freshest field for mobile development, it is also one that has come to depend on mobile services perhaps more than any other, given that it contains many “mobile-first” countries that rely heavily on mobile money transfers for their economic vitality.

As such, sub-Saharan Africa represents a massive revenue opportunity for mobile operators both local and international. But in order to fully take advantage of that opportunity, they must be able to establish connectivity throughout, and there are many remote regions that do not currently have network coverage, at least partly due to geographical factors.

The IntelsatOne Mobile Reach Solar 2G system is an example of a much-needed solution to sub-Saharan Africa’s coverage problem. While it is satellite-based and not designed for high-speed data, it will be sufficient for voice calls, texting and mobile money, which are the most important functions for people in these emerging economies. In order for operators to expand their footprints and drive revenue in this region, innovative technology partners will be essential.